Cech could become next Arsenal captain

Sankha Ghosh / 18 February 2016
Cech ruled out of Tottenham match with injury.

Arsene Wenger may decide to make Petr Cech the next Arsenal captain.

Veteran midfielder Mikel Arteta is still officially Arsenal’s club skipper, but he is all set to retire after this season and make a move for a coaching role.

Per Mertesacker is the vice-captain now and regularly wears the armband but manager Wenger have decided to give the captaincy role to a player who features every week.

Inside sources say, if there is any doubt regarding Mertesacker’s status as an automatic starter, then veteran keeper Cech could get the opportunity to lead the team after making such a strong impression at the Emirates since his surprise summer move from Chelsea.

The Arsenal goalkeeper actually leads the Premier League for clean sheets this term, recording 12 from 26 appearances this season (with Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris on 11 and nine respectively). Cech also has the best save percentage in English football’s top-flight, saving 79.05 percent of shots he was up against this season. His importance to this Gunners side is all there to see in plain numbers and figures.

And yet the former Chelsea shot-stopper’s influence on Arsene Wenger’s team goes deeper than the numbers show. Of course, it is to the benefit of the Gunners that they can depend on such a high caliber goalkeeper when everything else in front of him has suffered, but Cech’s significance cannot be quantified by mere statistics.

Many times in the past, Arsenal’s title challenges have been undermined by the absence of assurance and authority throughout, but particularly in the defensive department. Ever since the departure of Jens Lehmann almost eight years ago, Arsenal have really struggled to find a reliable goalkeeper to guide their sometimes erratic defence. In Cech, though, Wenger has finally found that figure. Arsenal remain quite simply a calmer, more confident team with Cech in goals.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are still concerned about the fitness of centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel. French defender Koscielny suffered a dead leg but is optimistic to face Barcelona in the Champions League’s last 16 next Tuesday, even if he is not even risked in the FA Cup fifth-round clash against Hull on Saturday.

It means Mertesacker and Calum Chambers to partner in the upcoming fixture as the Gunners trying hard to keep their bid for three consecutive FA Cup triumphs on track against the club they beat at Wembley in 2014 final.

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